Deal clinched on transition in Wardak: Dunford
KABUL (PAN): The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on Wednesday announced reaching an agreement with the Afghan government on transition in the troubled central province of Maidan Wardak.
Last month, President Hamid Karzai ordered US special forces to quit the province, fuelling concerns among American military officials that their withdrawal could allow militants to reinforce their presence in the strategic area.
Karzai had issued the orders in the wake of a string of public complaints that the US forces and the Afghans working with them were torturing and killing innocent civilians. Provincial authorities also came up with similar grumbles.
In an attempt to clinch a deal, ISAF Commander Gen. Joseph F. Dunford met President Karzai at the Palace on Wednesday to finalise the details on the way forward in Wardak, a statement from the NATO-led force said.
"I am pleased to announce that following a very constructive series of talks with the president, we have come to agreement on a plan for Wardak that continues the transition of this critical province and meets the security needs of the people and the requirements of our mission," Dunford said.
Under the agreement, beginning with Nirkh district, which is currently secured by Afghan Local Police aided by coalition troops, the government will soon move its forces into the area to provide security.
The arrival of Afghan forces would preclude the need for ALP and coalition forces in the area and the remainder of the province would transition over time, the general said, without giving a specific timeframe.
Dunford added: "I want to thank President Karzai for his leadership. This plan meets the president's intent and leverages the growing capacity and capability of Afghan forces to meet the security needs of this country. This solution is what success looks like as we continue transition to overall Afghan security lead."
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